Edison's Attempted Electricide

March 30, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

The prolonged death of the first man to die in an electric chair in 1890 was shocking: a gruesome spectacle of a man at first not given enough juice to kill him and then so much that he smoked. Also shocking was the behavior of one of the great inventors of the age, Thomas Edison. He hoped to discredit AC (alternating current) power, backed by his rival George Westinghouse, in favor of DC (direct current), by associating it with death. Edison recommended its use for the execution. He also electrocuted animals for the press to show that AC power was dangerous. Not only was he wrong, but AC power had advantages that made it the industry standard.

Florida is one six states where a condemned prisoner can choose to die in the chair, and in 2015 inmate Wayne Doty has done so.

 

 


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